Much of Arsenal‘s international stars have returned from the recent World Cup – largely with a clean bill of health – but despite not featuring for France in the final, we aren’t likely to see William Saliba involved on Boxing Day.
Mikel Arteta’s side welcome West Ham United to the Emirates Stadium for the late kickoff and they will definitely be without Gabriel Jesus, who picked up a serious knee injury whilst in action for Brazil.
Some reports suggest that he’ll be absent for the next three months which is a worrying blow to the Spaniard’s title hopes and whilst the likes of Bukayo Saka, Aaron Ramsdale and Granit Xhaka have all returned to training following their international duties, journalist Pete O’Rourke doesn’t believe that Saliba will be involved on Monday.
He told Football FanCast:
“I think Arteta and the Arsenal coaching staff will have had a plan in place for players whenever they returned from the World Cup, so I don’t think we’ll see Saliba on Boxing Day but maybe after that, he might be back.”
This will come as a gutting blow to both Arteta and the Gunners faithful as Saliba has been one of the many standout figures in Arsenal’s impressive pre-break form.
Indeed, heading into the London derby, they sit on top of the Premier League standings but recent injuries and this latest absence will only add doubt to whether they can sustain that level of performance heading into 2023.
Only Ramsdale and central defensive partner Gabriel Magalhaes have played more minutes than Saliba, which highlights Arteta’s faith in the former Marseille loanee. Three other players have averaged more tackles per game and he’s proven to be a threat at the other end of the pitch, having found the net twice and laid on one assist in 14 appearances, as per WhoScored.